Standard operating procedures key to efficiency in trade processes – GRA

The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) urges the public not to frustrate the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of trade processes and to report any officers who deviate from them as the agency remains committed to ensuring the highest possible efficiency.

Numerous SOPs were developed and implemented to support an Integrated Tax Administration with a view to improving workflow, efficiency and revenue performance, GRA Commissioner-General Khurshid Sattaur said in a press release. Staff also undergo planned continuous training in countless areas, including SOPs, bearing in mind transfers, promotion, recruitment, resignation and having to part ways with those who succumb to inducement, to facilitate smooth operations, he said, in response to remarks made by Ramesh Dookhoo, chairman of the Trade and Investment Sub-committee at the opening ceremony of the World trade Organisation/Guyana Trade Facilitation Assessment of Needs and Priorities session held on September 16.

According to the GRA, Dookhoo said that agency’s representatives at the session were not familiar to him and he hoped that the new generation embraces process management, which is one of the new standards being set in regulatory institutions that is expected to lessen delays and “unnecessary bureaucratic intervention” in the processing of transactions the public has with the GRA.

Sattaur noted that there are SOPs for the processing of customs declarations, remission letters, release of containers at wharves, risk management and others transactions. He also expressed surprise that such a statement should be made by a leading member of the private sector as the GRA has more than 290 SOPs in use over three years now that prescribe the manner in details to be followed by both the public and GRA officers in processing transactions that relates to those mentioned. The SOPs were developed from technical assistance provided under the Millennium Challenge Account programme that ended over three years ago.

“Ironically, it is the very intervention that prominent members of the Private Sector demands from their close and familiar association with the top level management of the GRA that sometimes require the processes to be circumvented in the interest of such expediencies and that are responsible for the intervention of senior management into transaction processes which if frown upon,” Sattaur said.

He advises the public, “including the captains of industry that these SOPs were developed as a charter with the GRA and the public that has as its sole objective the fulfilling of their duty by officers and the interaction with the public in a timely and consistent manner in processing of various transaction[s] related to the GRA’s operations.” Further, he pointed out that any deviation from these practices by an officer should be reported via the GRA’s hotline number 227-6060 ext: 1201-1204. Inquiries can also be made at the Customs Help Desk at the GRA headquarters on Camp Street or via email grapr@gra.gov.gy

The GRA will continue to review its business processes and SOPs to ensure that the trade process is not encumbered, the release said, while adding that it will also continue to dialogue with the Private Sector to determine the best practice and implementation of efficiency measures.

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